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Michael Ruxton Strong

Michael Strong’s Answers

22 total

  • How much should I ask for pain and suffering of broken tail bone due to slip/fall at a grocery store?

    I slipped and fell in a Grocery store abt a few months ago.The store had no sign up.I was taken to hospital by ambulance. After xrays n scans, I was told I had broken tail bone. ever since I came back home that day I have had pain and the only way...

    Michael’s Answer

    You are likely to recover as much or more than three to five times your medical bills, depending on severity of your injury, and if the store's liability is clear. Liability is the most difficult part of a "slip and fall" case. Winning this type of case depends on proof that the store management was on notice of this defect (foreign substance, uneven pavement or tile, loose or falling debris or products, etc.) You said only that "they had no sign up" but you did not mention what the sign would be protecting against. Was it spilled liquid, or other foreign substance? How long had it been there, and what if anything was done to fix the problem before you came along. Also, how open and obvious was the substance or material that caused you to fall? Were there videos in the store that can substantiate the time this problem existed before you fell? All of this requires expert attorney assistance to properly develop the case and get the fair value out to you. Without clear proof of a danger and notice to the store operator, you may well receive nothing or much less than the full value of your case.

    On the damage element of your case, most fractures require ongoing care, and cause severe pain. In this type of tailbone injury, there is little if anything a doctor can do short of prescribing pain meds, due to the nature and position of the tailbone. Therefore, your pain is the real driver in terms of value in this case. And, what if the pain does not go away? If it is permanent, as this type of fracture could be if it does not set completely, then you will have a far higher value.

    Our office recommends using expert medical doctors to testify about the nature and severity of pain, extent of healing or lack of healing, and need for future corrective surgery or other therapy to further bolster the proper measure of medical costs related to your injury. We can obtain the doctors report at no up front cost to you until reimbursement out of your eventual settlement. We can also help to reduce the outstanding medical expenses to be paid out of the settlement by negotiating with your doctors. These additional estimated medical costs will further drive up the value of settlement in the case.

    You absolutely need an attorney to represent you to get the fair value of your injury paid out. Even with legal fees deducted, you are likely to get far more after a thorough attorney goes after the store to establish both liability and your damages.

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  • Can I file a "John-Doe Lawsuit"?

    I drive for Enterprise Rentals and I was in an accident. An unknown driver in the left lane of 3 swerved into my middle lane. He drove me into the right lane where many cars were stopped waiting to turn and I smashed into the back of the last car ...

    Michael’s Answer

    Enterprise Car Rentals is self insured in Virginia. You can file an uninsured motorist claim, commonly referred to as a "John Doe" Action in Virginia and make a claim against Enterprise's UM coverage. When filing suit you have to serve the uninsured motorist carrier, or the self insured company that provided the UM coverage on the car.

    In Virginia, UM Coverage requires minimum limits of $25,000 per person per accident. These benefits are available under each Virginia policy involved. There may be stacking allowed among different policies if the car was not owned by Enterprise. If the car was owned by Enterprise, then it will be the primary policy, and your own personal policy could be stacked if you had coverage of more than the Enterprise policy, but only to the extent yours was higher. Stacking would allow more funds for settlement, if your injury is so severe that your claim is worth more than the first $25,000 in coverage.

    You also have a worker's comp claim, which by law provides lifetime medical benefits and wage loss benefits for a work related injury. A WC claim requires a showing that the accident occcurred within the "Couse and Scope of the Employment". if you were hired to drive E cars, and you were on such a mission at the time, then you are very likely to be within the course and scope of employment, but beware of shady employers and WC insurers who will try and say we told him to go straight to such and such place, and he was not on that route at the time of the accident, or he stopped for gas or lunch, and was "on his own venture" at the time.

    Your comments say you were on WC until recently, so I imagine they accepted your claim as compensable and paid wage loss benefits. If your back is just now starting to hurt and you have never seen a doctor since the accident, even after 6 months, you should seek medical attention. However, you first have to put your employer on written notice to provide a "panel" of treating physicians (3 required by law) for you to choose from to seek care for this injury if you have not sought medical care since the accident until now. This late request could be a tough fight to win given the 6 month gap in treatment post accident. How can you show the pain relates back to the accident? The employer will try and show you delayed because you weren't hurt in the accident, and the pain is unrelated to the AA.

    It is unlikely you had no care at all since the accident, but if you have received some care, you must continue to treat with the originally assigned doctor absent a referral or showing of good reason to switch doctors. It may be a contentious fight to get medical care for the first time now, since you are 6 months post accident with no medical care to date, as I read your comments, but if you can show through witnesses and your own account that you could not get medical care due to the employer's refusal to pay or refer you for care, this could help prove you have a right to medical care now. But, the doctor you choose (if the employer refuses to provide a panel) must state with reasonable medical certainty that your current back pain relates back to the auto accident, and you must show an objectively manifesting injury, usually described as a "pop" or "snap" and immediate or quickly onsetting pain to the back post-accident, to meet the comp test for an injury by accident.

    The WC insurer/employer will have a lien against any third party John Doe action you file to recover the cost of medical care and comp payments they made to you. This lien is subject to negotiation when you prepare to settle the John Doe UM case.

    Don't forget that the John Doe personal injury case is actuallly assigned by law to the WC carrier by law if it accepted the claim and paid it, and you have to get a signed consent to pursue your right to file suit against John Doe, and still have to protect their lien in the settlement.

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  • I can't afford a lawyer for failure to yield charge, what should I do?

    I have the option to prepay or go to court. I think I have evidence which shows the other driver to be at fault, and I don't think it hurts to fight the charge in court. I realize that I may still need to prove I didn't fail to yield. I have never...

    Michael’s Answer

    The court actually will not offer you a lawyer for free unless you are faced with a charge that carries a potential jail term. Furthermore, there is no procedure that gives you a free lawyer but charges you for legal fees only if you lose.

    Failure to yield does not fit that category of traffic offenses under which a court will provide you with an attorney from Legal Aid (a free or subsidized legal services program offered to indigent defendants faced with potential jail sentences if convicted). Such matters would include reckless driving, driving on suspended license, or DUI.

    You are well served to pay a visit to the clerk's office of the traffic court. THey can help you to get subpoenas issued to summon witnesses who support your defense. If you are the only known witness other then the person involved in the accident with you, then you wont need any subpoenas unless you believe that the other person will say the accident was not your fault (not likely). Many people try their own case in traffic court due to financial constraints. at best, you will convince the judge, but at worst, he may assess a fine that might be lower than a prepayment of the ticket would cost you, especially if you appear earnest, honest, and arguably reasonable in the way you were driving.

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  • Surgeon in VA placed screws that were too long in my son's arm after a break last year.

    A partner to the surgeon who performed the surgery now says the screws are too long and is causing excessive scar tissue and could cause more damage to muscles. He is a junior in high school and will miss out on potential college scholarships if h...

    Michael’s Answer

    I would seek out a second opinion about the screws being too long. They may have become partially dislodged after implant. Also, Virginia is one of the most conservative court systems on proving medical malpractice in the country. You will have to have a doctor familiar with the local standard of care for orthopedic procedures involved in your son's treatment testify that the oversized screw was negligently chosen or inserted incorrectly, causing impingement to adjacent muscle tissue to the fracture site. Since the screws are intended to secure the bone fragments, this sounds like a possible mistake in size unless some other considerations are at play, such as preventing bone movement.

    Most lawyers are going to be hesitant to take on a case that does not involve serious life threatening and permanent injuries, due to the costs of litigation in medical malpractice cases. Most screw implants have to be removed in time anyway. Your new physician did not mention serious or permanant harm to the arm as a result of the screw size problem. Therefore, be prepared to hear that no lawyers will take this case, but you should start with having another doctor look at the condition in any event, and give you an honest appraisal of the impact on your son's arm from any collateral damage caused by the old screws. Then, see a lawyer.

    Also, remember, you have two years from the implant to file a lawsuit, but this period can be extended when a minor is the injured party, until two years beyond the 18th birthday.

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  • Bankruptcy

    I lent people money and all and they put my stuff in their bankruptcy. What can i do. I went to the bankruptcy hearing and i have till March 5th to file anything.

    Michael’s Answer

    From your question, it looks like you lent money and some furniture or other items of value that belong to you but which are claimed by the debtors to belong to them. You will have to file an objection to their schedules and ask for return of the items, as long as you can prove the items belong to you (with receipts and witness testimony). Motions like this generally require a lawyer to file and pursue successfully.

    The other attorney answering this question is correct about the loan, which you cannot recover UNLESS they have funds or property that are not exempt under state homestead exemptions, which are pretty much limited to $10,000 worth of household furniture, and $5,000 worth of any other asset. I assume they did not keep your car, which is subject to another exemption, but is easier to prove belongs to you through title documents. homestead exemptions are explained on our website for your information.

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  • Foreclosure after bankruptcy dose it matter?

    discharged in Sept.2011in Nevada and reaffirmed my house in order to avoid or delay trustee sale and know again I've got trustee sales notice on my front door for Jan. 9, 2012. Should I discard it and let bank proceed with trustee sales/ foreclos...

    Michael’s Answer

    in addition to the other good answers above, you may want to consider asking the lender for a loan modification, to reduce the interest rate and, as a result, bring down the regular payment amount on the loan. if you tried and failed to get a loan mod before the bankruptcy, try again, as the lender may have disqualified you for that loan mod because of your undischarged unsecured debt, that now is discharged. also, your arrears under a loan mod can be tacked onto the back of the loan, which will solve the pending foreclosure threat, if you also make sure the lender agrees to stop the foreclsoure while you are negotiating the loan mod.

    Normally they require your bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and proof of other income such as room rental income or outside earnings from a second job. Your gross monthly income normallly has to be at least 3 times higher than the new mortgage payment. Try and ask for a 2% interest rate to get the payment as low as possible.

    If the lender wont stop the foreclosure, file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and try again for the loan mod after the foreclosure is stopped by the bankruptcy case.

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  • How do I collect on a promissory note?

    I lent a friend some money, which he was then able to use as investment into his company. He drew up a promissory note for me, guaranteeing receipt of the loan amount within a year, plus interest. However, now he no longer returns my calls or cont...

    Michael’s Answer

    Even if he used the money he borrowed from you for his company, the debt evidenced by a note payable is legally valid. You may, if able to prove all the money went to his business, have a claim against the business under a theory that he acted as an disclosed agent for the company and sue the company on that basis as well. You probably will need an attorney to develop the proof on that issue, as it is legally technical and subject to many defenses. Once you get a judgment, you will have to request issuance of a writ of fieri facias from the court clerk. then, a garnishment of his bank account is possible by filing a garnishment summons. you can also garnish his wages using a separate garnishment summons against his employer.

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  • MY BANKRUPTCY WAS DISCHARGED IN JULY 2011 THE HOME EQUITY LOAN WAS NOT SECURE. I CONTINUE TO PAY THE MORTGAGE. RECEIVED A

    THREAT TO FORCLOSE ON HOME IF $1600 IS NOT PAYED BY DEC. 2011 ON THE HOME EQUITY LOAN

    Michael’s Answer

    Your question seems to suggest that although the first mortgage balance is greater than the value of the house, and your second mortgage is therefore not "attached" to any equity in the home, you are threatened with foreclosure. In similar cases, and only in some jurisdictions, you may be able to file what is commonly referred to as a "Chapter 20" bankruptcy (there is no real Chapter 20 in the code, it is referred to that as a colloquialism). In effect, it is a chapter13 payment plan, and you will be able to file a separate "lien strip" adversary proceeding, to establish the upside down equity in the house, and at the conclusion of your payment plan, the second mortgage is removed as a lien from your home, provided you complete the payments in the Chapter 13 plan. Not many bankruptcy lawyers know about this procedure. ask around!

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  • I am filing bankruptcy and my grandmother placed me on her checking account only in the case that i need to pay her bills.

    what can be done to prevent them from taking my grandmother's money? Can she write a letter and have it notarized that this is not my money, but hers?

    Michael’s Answer

    In a bankruptcy proceeding, most chapter 7 trustees (since that is the only type of bankruptcy that will be looking for assets to administer) will accept proof by tracing of the source of funds in your grandmother's account to show how much of the money on deposit is hers as opposed to yours. if you make an honest disclosure, and report that the account has your name on it simply for accomodation of the true owner of the funds, your grandmother, especially due to her limited mobility, etc., then in all likelihood the trustee will abandon those funds. Secondly, if there is any amount in the account that belongs to you (e.g., from your income sources) then you can exempt those funds in Virginia, up to the amount of $5,000 under a general homestead exemption to keep that amount of funds exempt from the court's administration of your bankruptcy estate.

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  • Can a Trustee file a motion to dismiss based on disputed debt?

    I had a US Trustee file a motion to dismiss based on disputed debt not being added to my plan. The debt and alleged creditor have had objections to their proof of claims filed and adversary proceedings filed against them. They are objecting under ...

    Michael’s Answer

    A US Trustee can move to dismiss your case for failling to list your debts as required by law. even if you dispute the debt, there is an obligation to list it. If you contest the amount of the debt, or its legal collectibility, you can file an objection to the claim, if one is required to be filed, and bring the objection on for a hearing. however, the judge in your case is now likely to defer such an objection hearing pending outcome of the adversary proceeding that was filed in reference to the same matter.

    You can also move for summary judgment in the AP case to get a quicker resolution, if your facts supporting the disputed debt are uncontested and legally establish an invalid debt as a matter of law.

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